The Myth Surrounding Negative Emotions

We hear so much these days of negative versus positive thinking and how to turn negative thoughts into positive ones in order to create a better life for ourselves. But what about so called ‘negative’ emotions?

Many of us have been led to believe that negative emotions such as anger, fear or guilt are just that: ‘negative’, but what if I told you that this is simply not true, that there is no such thing as a ‘negative’ emotion? Yes, these emotions exist on the emotional spectrum and are ones that are operating at the lower end of the vibrational energy frequency, but to label them as ‘negative’ is misleading and results in the belief that we should not be feeling these emotions. So what do many of us do? We normally tend not to deal with them. We numb them or endure them, supressing them in one form or another.

According to Tony Robbins, one of my greatest mentors, negative emotions have been relabelled as Emotional Messages, messages that are a call to some form of action. What action? Either you need to change your perception, the meaning you have attached to a certain situation, your focus or you need to change your actions. So if you are experiencing frustration for example, we should embrace this feeling and identify the message it holds for us. All ‘negative’ emotions serve as signals, as messages for you to change something. So how can we start learning from these emotions and use them to our benefit? We need to start by changing what the emotion means. How? Here are 6 steps we can follow:

  1. Identify the emotion. What am I really feeling? In many cases, we think we are experiencing one type of emotion, such as frustration, but if we really dig deep, we realise that we are really feeling some sort of hurt or loss. According to Robbins, these are the foundations of the majority of low vibrational emotions.
  2. Acknowledge and appreciate the message this emotion has for you.
  3. Get curious as to what the message is. What is the real message this emotion is trying to give me?
  4. Reassure yourself that you can deal with this emotion. You can do this by remembering a time you dealt with this emotion in the past.
  5. Get certain that you can handle anything like this in the future by rehearsing it. What things might happen in the future where this emotion may come up again?
  6. Take action by either changing your perception, your focus, the meaning you have placed on the situation that has triggered this emotion. By taking action, you change your life.

Let’s now look at some common emotions and what they usually mean:



Common Message this emotion is trying to give us


You have to prepare for something – perhaps a physical challenge or some form of loss that is coming up (relationship, job, interview, meeting etc.)
HURT Usually means an expectation you had has not been met so begin focusing on what you do want
ANGER You have a major rule that has been violated. We all have rules about how things must/should be. We get angry with others and even ourselves if these rules have been violated
FRUSTRATION A message that what you are doing isn’t working so you need to change your approach/actions
DISAPPOINTMENT You expected something to happen that didn’t so focus on what you want now
GUILT You have violated one of your own standards/values. Get certain that you won’t do this again in the future. Maybe your standards are unreasonable/too high
DEPRESSION/ OVERWHELM/HELPLESSNESS Depression normally means you are out of control/ helpless or feeling overwhelmed. You have too much going on. Remember you can’t change EVERYTHING in your life all at once. Where do you start? Right where you are. Reprioritise. What can I do now to feel better? Do just ONE thing to take action and you start to feel good about yourself again
LONELINESS You need to connect with people.
INADEQUACY Your standards may be too high. Change them and remember that nobody is perfect the first time they attempt something

So the truth is there is no such thing as a negative emotion. Each emotion has its own unique message. You just need to take the time to look within and unravel the meaning trying to reveal itself and communicate to you. That message is more often than not a call to action. Either to change your perceived reality or to change the action that you have been taking.

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